Playing in his final BC Hockey League ever in his home rink Sunday, Surrey Eagles’ captain Ben Vikich went out in style.
The 20-year-old Peninsula native had a three-point night – capped with an assist on Spencer Unger’s overtime winner – to lead his team to a 4-3 win over the visiting Cowichan Capitals.
A day earlier, the Eagles held the playoff-bound Prince George Spruce Kings in check, playing the northern B.C. squad to a 1-1 tie.
But Sunday – which was also the final home games for outgoing Eagles Joe and Brian Drapluk, Christian Short and Andy Chugg – was the highlight, as Surrey earned the two points thanks to a big second period.
After Cowichan went up 1-0 late in the first period on a goal from Skylar Pacheco, and the visitors doubled the lead just over six minutes into the second when Rylan Bechtel beat goaltender Daniel Davidson on the power play.
But the resilient home team clawed its way back with three goals in under five minutes – Lucas Stratford, Vikich and Joe Drapluk each scored in succession.
Trailing 3-2 in the final frame, the Caps tied the game 4:12 into the third, and the deadlock stood until extra time, when Unger sent the fans home happy when he converted a Vikich pass and fired home the winning goal.
“Absolutely no better feeling (than) playing my last ever home game… and getting the big OT win and first star!” Vikich said after the game, via Twitter.
It was the second game of the weekend in which the Eagles earned at least one point – a rarity in what has been a tough season for the South Surrey-based squad.
On Friday, the Eagles and Spruce Kings played to a defensively tight 1-1 deadlock that even overtime couldn’t solve.
Neither team scored in the first period, and Prince George took the lead late in the second, scoring the game’s first goal on the power play.
In the third, however, Unger tied the game, with Brian Drapluk and Sam Chatterley picking up assists.
And though overtime solved nothing, it was not without its drama.
Short, who made more than 30 saves in regulation time, was called upon to stop a penalty shot in overtime, and the two teams traded multiple scoring chances, but to no avail.
Short and Prince George goaltender Jesse Jenks were each named a star of the game; Short stopped 36 of 37 shots, while Jenks stopped 44, including 12 in overtime.
Surrey, with a record of 9-43-1-3, has two more games to close out the BCHL season – a road game Wednesday against the Merritt Centennials, followed by a second road tilt Friday night in West Kelowna against the Warriors.